The U.S. Congress <ul><li>The U.S. Congress is made up of two parts, the House of Representatives and the Senate . </li></ul><ul><li>Congress meets at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. </li></ul><ul><li>Its primary duty is to write, debate, and pass bills, which are then passed on to the President for approval. </li></ul>
House of Representatives <ul><li>In the House, representation is based on the number of people living in each state. </li></ul><ul><li>There are a total of 435 representatives in the House. </li></ul><ul><li>States with larger populations have more representation than states with smaller populations. </li></ul>
The Senate <ul><li>Each of the 50 states sends 2 people to the Senate, so there are a total of 100 senators. </li></ul><ul><li>This means that each state has equal representation in the Senate. </li></ul>
What is a Law? <ul><li>So what is a law? Well, picture your family sitting down to play a board game. You need to know the rules in order to play, right? The same thing goes for your day-to-day life -- you need to know the rules or laws. Every country has their own set of laws and each is unique to that country. For example, in the United States, the law says we drive on the right-hand side of the road. In England, on the other hand, their law states they drive on the left. You could really do some damage if you didn't know that law and started driving on the wrong side of the road! </li></ul><ul><li>Now that we know what a law is, who makes the laws? Well, laws can be made by the national government or by individual state governments. National laws are those laws that everyone in the country must follow. Laws made by individual states are only good in that state. </li></ul>
Who Makes Laws? <ul><li>National laws are made in Congress, which is part of the legislative branch and is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress can make laws on all kinds of matters, such as setting speed limits. </li></ul>
How Laws Are Made <ul><li>Let's pretend the voters from Senator Jones' state want a law requiring seatbelts on school buses. He and his staff write a bill. A Senate Standing Committee reviews the bill. </li></ul><ul><li>If the committee sends it back with no changes, then the bill goes on the Senate's calendar to be voted on. When that day comes, the bill is voted on and over half of the senators (51 of 100) must vote yes to pass it. </li></ul>If the bill is passed by the Senate, it then moves to the other branch of Congress, the House of Representatives. Just as in the Senate, over half of the representatives (218 of 435) must vote yes to pass the bill.
How Laws Are Made <ul><li>If the bill is passed in both the Senate and House, the bill goes to the President of the United States. If the president signs the bill, it then becomes a law. </li></ul><ul><li>It may also become law if the president does not sign it for 10 days. If the president rejects ( vetoes ) the bill, it can still become a law if two-thirds of the Senate and two-thirds of the House then vote in favor of the bill. </li></ul>
Responsibilities of Citizens <ul><li>The most important right citizens have is the right to vote. By voting, the people have a voice in the government. The people decide who will represent them in the government. </li></ul><ul><li>The government may call upon citizens to serve on a jury. The members of the jury need to decide the case in as fair a way as they can. </li></ul><ul><li>Every person is expected to obey the laws of the community, state and country in which he or she lives. All Americans are expected to respect the rights of others. All people living in the U.S. are expected to pay taxes. </li></ul>